What Would You Do?

She turned around, first this way and then that. She smiled, she frowned and most of all, she waited. She waited for me to say something. She was seeking an answer.

Unfortunately for all involved it was not a yes or no type of answer, it was not so cut and dried or black and white. You see, she is a dear friend who asked for an honest opinion. An honest opinion about a dress she was already in love with. A dress that did not look well on her at all. A dress she was so in love with that she bought it. Now what to say?

I could be honest and tell her it looked awful. I could tell her that the color did not suit her, that the style did not suit her body. I could tell her that the dress did not do her justice.

I could save her feelings, knowing she thought it was so wonderful that she couldn’t really see the dress on her. Mi could simply agree with her. I could become philosophical and tell her something along the lines of beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Either way it would be done out of friendship, but of course there would be consequences. What would you do, knowing she asked for an honest opinion? Knowing she loved the dress and already bought it because she thought it looked great on her?

Perhaps, if you tell me what you’d do, I will share what I did! 😉

Beaten by Beets

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me those people who come up with these “simple, but delicious” recipes are kissing something.

I bought some beets, okay a fair amount of fresh beets. Normally I just boil them and peel them and call it done. Well,sometimes a dressing of some sort might be applied to the beets and maybe some dill, onion, shallots, spring onions or such might be added. But let’s face it, it really ain’t getting much beyond that.

Wanting to do something different, but not challenging I went onto Internet to see what I could find. I came across roasted beets. Simple right, you just toss them in the oven and life is good.

I decided to try two different methods of roasting, one required a layer of salt to be placed on a baking sheet and he beets placed on top of that and roast away. The other method was simpler still, simply toss the beets in aluminum foil and roast away. Easy peasy surely.

I followed the directions as though my very life depended on it. While both products were edible, it seems to me that there are steps missing or perhaps shortcuts used in these recipes.

Sure I’ve turned a turkey into a charcoal-type artifact, but that was a number of years ago. And it was really only once so I’m not that dreadful of a cook. And yet the beets didn’t turn out exactly as described on the websites.

Is it just me or do ores have these moments too?

Historical Beauty

I felt the first blow as though it happened to my own body. I couldn’t understand why. I guess that some things can never be answered to our satisfaction. Not when we are emotionally attached. Emotional attachments of any sort leads a person to not worry about logic or rational.

As the second and third blows came I had to leave, I simply could not bear to watch it. It wasn’t just the loss of the beauty, it was the loss of the history.

I could understand it if the old building was in bad shape, condemned etc. But then it has good structure and is still usable why get rid of that architecture?

It drives me batty when a decision is made to remove an historic building because it doesn’t “suit the skyline” or isn’t part of the “design for the neighborhood”. Some of this old architecture is a thing of beauty.

When we remove pieces of history that can be used as touch points for our past, the history becomes less real. history isn’t just read out of dusty books, it can be experienced by other senses if allow it to remain standing. Sure it might not be sleek or all glass, and granted it may not permit for the same number of people, but there is still value in it.

So I left the area when the wrecking ball was swung to take down the old building to make way for a modern high-rise. I left wondering if those people who made the decision to do this considered the history and the beauty before removing it. I also wondered what they thought of older people, people who maybe aren’t all shiny and new. People with a few cracks and chinks in their armor. Perhaps some of their facade is crumbling and maybe you can’t see their beauty the same as you can with someone younger, but does that mean we remove them?

Taking Yourself Away

A few years back I spent a month on vacation. It was a blissful month, one that allowed me to refresh and recharge myself. (I know that makes me sound less like a human and more like a battery or piece of equipment. When did we get to this point?)

I was telling a friend about the idea of taking a month off and putting ones self first. It’s a wonderful thing if you can afford it. My friend asked me how I could spend a whole month sitting on my beach.

I must confess my response was something akin to “What? Who does that?” And that’s when it hit me, many people will think a vacation to be a relaxing enterprise, doing only a few things and then resting again.

My month-long vacation was not relaxing, not in the sense of resting on a beach. There was a lot of biking and walking, some hiking and some heavy lifting (shopping for books etc.).

The point is we all rest and recharge, find our peace if you will, by doing different things. But what we all need to do is remember to honor ourselves, not in the bragging sense or throwing our egos out. When we do not honor ourselves we may be sending messages to others that it is okay for them to not honor our needs for taking of ourselves. Let’s face it, we aren’t crabs so we aren’t going to re-grow body parts. They may be able to transplant organs, but that isn’t a guarantee. The best investment you will ever make is the investment in yourself and your well being.

Home Sweet Humility

My father always said “measure twice and cut once”. I remember him saying this frequently as a child. I wasn’t sure why he was so set on measuring things before cutting them because let’s face it, cutting is just far more fun.

Sure there have been times when I have gotten carried away with my zeal for cutting and ended up with things a bit too short, but I call that creative license. Well okay it isn’t really, it it’s a way to justify things in a means that fits.

Not that I would ever tell my father that he was right because that’s not how it goes. A child isn’t supposed to admit to being wrong, I’m pretty sure that is in the rule book for children.

And since we are all friends here, I feel safe when I say sometimes if I measure something twice, or even thrice, I keep getting different numbers. I know, it’s a strange thing, but I chalk it up as being a fringe part of the whole Bermuda Triangle, granted a far-reaching fringe, but part of it nonetheless.

Okay okay so maybe not really anything with the Bermuda Triangle, it then clearly it must be a case of defective equipment. You know a tape measure that changes numbers or such. I mean what else could it be?

Yes fine, okay is admit it’s all on me. I haven’t the skills for that stuff, nor the patience. It wouldn’t be so bad if I had someone who had this “handyman” type skills in my life. But I don’t.

Well okay if you count using glue, or masking tape then I guess I do have that covered.

There is nothing like a home renovation to make humble you. Or perhaps that should be, there is nothing like a home renovation to bring humility into my life. It’s just that I could do without a lesson in humility every day. Oh I’m not saying I don’t need it, but well, I’m not a fan of it. I can’t get used to the taste of humble pie, but again perhaps the is the lesson.

Simply Too Hard For Some

I fought it, I ignored it. I tried to pretend it wasn’t happening, but of course there comes a point when you can no longer live in denile. You have to admit that you have the flu or the cold.

No there is no way around it, and there is nothing to do but suffer through it. Oh I get that most of us will get one a few times a year, but when people who are sick refuse to do simple things to keep it from others, well that ticks me off.

What is it about the Western world that says no matter how sick or contagious we are, we should still go into the office, we should share this with others?

Yes I was taught to share as a child, but I was also taught to cover my mouth when I coughed or sneezed and to always wash my hands. Sadly I do not work with people who always follow what I take as common sense.

Maybe these people feel it isn’t enough for just them to suffer, that if they are miserable and sick so should everyone else.

I beg of you, any of you who are sick, please restrain from sharing. Some of us are on medications or have conditions that make the common cold or flu far more serious. Your common cold will create all kinds of havoc and mean I miss out on much-needed chemo therapy.

Sure I know the flip to this is that someone like me should live in a bubble or something, but that doesn’t pay the bills, and the government says I should be working.

So common sense says if you are I’ll stay home and get better not just for your health, but also because let’s face it when you are sick your productivity drops.

I will never understand why something so simple as if you are sick, stay home is so hard for people and companies to understand.

Math Homework

Every so many years the Western world redoes its school curriculum. Often times you will hear about this via parents complaining about how things are being taught.

As an educator, I’m all for innovative ways that allow people to learn, but even I am stumped by something with these changes. No one has ever been able to explain this to me either.

I’m talking about the “new math”. Here’s what puzzles me. People who are into math will say things like “it’s black and white” or “the logic is flawless” or even “the numbers don’t lie”.

Okay I can buy all that, I really can. I’m not a huge fan of the numbers as I prefer words and such, but I get that E numbers are static 2+2 is always going to equal 4 following mathematical logic.

So why do we have new math? New ways of teaching it? Why? What has changed? Can someone please explain this to me as well as what makes us think there is such a thing as creative math that still works under the laws of the numbers? Oh and why do we think we need to keep making the math work harder even though the age of the student for a given grade really doesn’t change? Have we forgotten how the young mind works?

Okay part do this is my fear that we are making too many programmers and engineers and forgetting about the study of the humanities and art. There is a place for everything, but it seems we are moving away from that to a more math filled world and this makes me sad (yes even as I adore my electronic gadgets). We need poems to speak the words we can not utter ourselves. Stories to give us adventuress that otherwise would never happen. We need music to voice for the dance. Yes I know music is based on math, but why must we break art down to numbers and lose sight of art?

Changing Time

I’ve never been one to sit in a beauty parlor getting all beautified and sipping on a refreshing drink. I cannot imagine willingly spending hours of time just sitting in a chair, getting my hair and nails done while people talk or gossip on and on.

I’ve never been one to linger in a restaurant or coffee shop. Oh I may stay a bit after I’m finished eating or drink my drink a bit more slowly, but all day in one of these places? No thank you.

I know there is pleasure to found in the actions, at least for some. And if I am honest, there is a part of me that wonders what it would be like to do these things without getting hot about it. All I can think of when I’m sitting there and things are going slowly is how I’m wasting time.

Time is precious, it slides through our fingers without us even knowing how quickly it is going until we only have a small amount left. Time is gone in the twinkle of one’s eye, half a blink and more has slipped away than you thought possible.

No one has found a way to slow down the moving of time, instead we have found more ways to fill up that precious, fleeting commodity. More things to do, more hours at work, more time traveling to a job etc when really what we need is to slow down and enjoy the good things in life.

No one, on their death-bed, is going to say things like: “if only I could have spent more hours at the office”, “I wish I had spent more time away from my family due to traveling”. The things we regret are the things that we never should because they are as precious as time. These things are time with friends and family, time doing things for ourselves, time enjoying life rather than wishing we could enjoy life.

I don’t have a time machine, nor do I have a means to stop time so instead I slow down now and then. I shut off from the rat race and instead take time for myself a moment or two to relax and recharge as well as spending time how I want and how I really need to be spending it.

I’d love to hear how you slow down time and take time for the important things.

Kitchen Gifts

I realized, just recently I’m ashamed to say, that cooking can bring out my inner Gordon Ramsey and not in a good way. I am always amazed at how something as simply as vegetables can send me into a cursing phase that would make a sailor blush.

Of course cooking doesn’t always make me curse or rant on and on, no sometimes cooking brings out my inner Lucille Ball. Those gadgets and devices that are supposed to make things easier can send me into heaps of physical nightmares on my floor. I’m posit e that to anyone watching it, it is sure to bring a smile or chuckle.

I admire hose people who can gook with easy and grace, not making a mess all over the place. When I finished cooking the kitchen looks, well, like someone was cooking in it. You might suspect a far greater amount of products based on the mess. Sometimes it appears as though I was attacked while working with flour! 😉

I know we can’t all be good at everything, I’m okay with this to be honest, but why is it that when it comes to cooking I’ve been given the gift of physical comedy and verbal outrage?

Please don’t let me be the only one with these “skills”!

Creating Visibility For The Invisible

Having an invisible illness, chronic, terminal or otherwise, puts a person in a different position. A visible illness offers up no need to explain things. If you are in a wheel chair and the activity people want to do requires you to go up a series of stairs (no elevator because really that’s just not in the plans) there is no need to explain why you won’t be partaking.

Have arthritis, decaying bones, horrible pain and people don’t see the condition. As a matter of fact you just may end up accused of being lazy for not climbing those stairs. And don’t mention the world “can’t” because people won’t believe it. Instead they will guilt you, humiliate you or cajole you into doing what your body will struggle with.

Oh you have sudden exhaustion that makes loving seem like you are swimming upstream in a mudslide? Well start to exercise, or eat better food, or stop drinking or get rest. No one understand that kind of exhaustion except a fellow sufferer.

have wave upon wave of nausea attacking you? Don’t be surprised if people pass it off as a hangover, you being dramatic or some such deal.

Oh the least is endless and with lupus I have managed to experience far more than I’ve wanted to. I have yet to figure out how to explain it to be in a way that they understand. I cannot keep track of how many people have told me to rest a bit more and I’d feel just fine. And if I had a penny for every time someone asked me why in don’t just take a pill to get better, I wouldn’t have to drag a rebelling body to the office.

We understand that cancer can’t always be cured. Why can’t people under the same for other illnesses? Lupus is not sexy and since it is as individual as each person who has it, there isn’t a “one face” for the illness. It isn’t as well-known as it should be even though there are countless people who suffer from it.

When I was told to get a handicapped parking pass I balked, because I was sure I wouldn’t need it. Pride really bolstered me up when frankly it took just about all I had to walk from the far end of the parking lot to e door of a store. So when I finally used one, I received countless looks of disgust and such. Why? I’m sure people thought I was some type of jerk or worse. I can walk, sort of, and I don’t use a cane etc so of course a lot of people will assume I just want easy parking.

Try explaining to a boss why you need to be able to work at home sometimes can create a division between you and a “healthy” worker. Again if you can’t see anything wrong with a person then surely that person must be lazy etc.

Most people with invisible illnesses tend to expend a great deal of precious energy just trying to be normal, just trying to fit in with the healthy people. The problem with this, is it helps foster a strange relationship with invisible illnesses and those who refuse to pretend to be fine. Not only that, but it diminishes the struggles people have wi basic every day things. And finally it makes it near impossible for some people to understand what this kind of life is like.

I don’t pretty up my illness, it is just that an illness. I didn’t ask for it, I’m not really a fan of it, but we have an understanding: I refuse to allow lupus to define my life and lupus refuses to be evicted from my body, but tries to behave somewhat. I accept this deal because it’s better than having the illness always raging within me and destroying me.